The first issue of the new Vertigo series "American Vampire" comes out today, from writer Scott Snyder and illustrator Rafael Albuquerque. Oh, and there's this other co-writer... I think his name is Stephen King?

We've seen comics from King before, and plenty of novelists attempting the jump to comics like Snyder, and of course, more than enough vampire franchises, but after reading the first issue we can say that the resulting comic here is something far more than the sum of those familiar parts, and beautiful besides, thanks to the spectacular art of Albuquerque. When the comic jumps time periods between the stories of Snyder and King, the visual style of the art makes a marked shift as well from the art deco influence of the mid-1920s to a more western aesthetic for a tale set in the 1880s, but still remains distinct and lovely. The series is set to explore other eras in future cycles, and we'll be keen to see how Albuquerque adapts his work to the next one.

The two stories in this issue, which are linked by the common thread of vampire Skinner Sweet, provide plenty of bang for your buck; we know all the complaints about $3.99 single issues, but if more of them felt like they had this much substance, there would probably be a lot less complaining. We've got preview pages after the jump if you'd like a closer look at the art, and there's a King interview at The Daily Beast (and a Snyder interview right here at CA) if you want more.

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